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Abstract

Faced with the near unanimity of biblical anthropology among biblical theology (Botterweck & Ringgren, 1974–2006; Brown, 1975; Harris, Archer, & Waltke, 1980; Kittle & Friedrich, 1964–1976; VanGemeren, 1997), I propose an analysis of the biblical words and concepts, focusing on: (1) “image of God” and (2) “soul.” This approach results in a functionalism, which I call a multi-faceted unity. I propose to extend these biblical theology categories into the field of bio-ethics for implications. This approach is in contrast to some Christian bio-ethicists who start from the field of philosophy or biology and tack some devotional elements of the Bible on the rafters of their view.

(1) Image of God means “a representation of God” showing that God rules here (Wolff, 1974, pp. 160-161; Tell Fekheriye inscription 1, 12, 15–16; 4Q504 fragment 8, lines 4–6). God sets the purpose of His image to finitely rule under God’s sovereignty. As images of God we humans are to play god in bioethics, doing miniature acts of sovereignty under the Sovereign God (Genesis 1:26–28; 5:1, 3; 9:6; James 3:9).

This legitimates humans attempting prevention and recovery means like: ways of controlling pests (for example, serpents), aids to diminish pain in child birth, pesticides and herbicides, fertilization of crops, genetically modified food, inoculations, drug and surgery treatment, AID, in vitro-fertilization, stem cell treatment, gene therapy, and cloning. Such an image of God concept identifies the theoretically permissible even though I recognize methodologically ethical principles raised elsewhere in the paper bring certain restrictions.

In ruling the creation, anything is permitted provided it: (a) Is not excluded by God’s command (Genesis 3:17–19; Romans 14:10–12). (b) Fits within God’s design parameters, and is (c) actively engaged in for the Lord’s glory (Romans 14:6–12). (d) Helps and does not hinder (Romans 14:13–15:6). (e) Fits within an affirming conscience, rather than violating one’s conscience (a New Covenant thing; Romans 14:5, 22–23).

(2) The biblical concept of soul entails a wholistic meaning of “complete living and willing being” in a non-microbial pre-modern manner (for example, Genesis 1:20, 24, 30; 2:7; 9:4–5, 10). Thus, soul means that animals have certain privileges against extremes of bio-ethical abuse.

Biblically bio-ethically humans have a right to life. Those who kill a fetus are then culpable of murder and were to be killed by capital punishment (Genesis 4:1, 25; Exodus 21:22–24; Psalms 51:5; 139:13–15; Revelation 6:9).

Disciplines

Life Sciences | Physical Sciences and Mathematics | Religion

Keywords

Biblical anthropology, Biblical view of human, Bio-ethics biblically, Image of God, Soul, Life, Person

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Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.

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